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Libraries & Collections > MRBR > Exhibitions > Online Exhibitions > A Pen and a Press of Her Own

Woolf in the World: A Pen and a Press of Her Own
Between the Acts

Between the ActsVanessa Bell designed the dust jacket for Woolf’s tenth and final novel. It was completely written, though not revised, at the time of her death in 1941. The manuscript was prepared for press by Leonard Woolf. According to the blurb on the dust jacket: “The scene is an English village, and the action takes place on a single summer’s day when the local pageant is produced.”

Virginia Woolf. Between the Acts.
London: Hogarth Press, 1941.

The Death of the Moth
Virginia Woolf. The Death of the Moth and
Other Essays
. London: Hogarth Press, 1942.

The Death of the Moth And Other Essays is the first posthumously published collection of Woolf’s essays. Vanessa Bell’s dust jacket design shows the great elm tree, under which Virginia Woolf’s ashes are buried, just outside the garden at Monk’s House. Woolf’s signature essay, “The Death of the Moth,” describes the beauty of life as a dying moth fights to right itself: “Again, somehow, one saw life, a pure bead.” The essay also describes the beauty of death:

The struggle was over. The insignificant little creature now knew death. As I looked at the dead moth, this minute wayside triumph of so great a force over so mean an antagonist filled me with wonder. Just as life had been strange a few minutes before, so death was now as strange. The moth having righted himself now lay most decently and uncomplainingly composed. O yes, he seemed to say, death is stronger than I am.

Presented by Frances Hooper ’14.
Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

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